Apple Season

September begins the slide toward autumn. The weather may be confused about what season it is, but I’m not. In WNC it is Apple Season.

Late summer gardens continue to gift tomatoes, peppers, and okra. The apple orchards are full families filling their baskets. Potatoes and squash from earlier this summer are cured and waiting to find their way to the table. Next week I’ll be taking a few days off and spending most of the day on a cobble beach along my favorite river, probably practicing crochet stitches ahead of a little fall stitching project to start in a week or two. I’m rusty. The century old cabin has a small but well equipped kitchen, and a large screened in porch where I have gathered on many occasions with friends and family over the years. I look forward to cooking (and eating!) without being in a constant rush toward getting the kids ready for bed, or working around the never-ending construction that is our house renovation. I’ll be making homemade bread for the first time in ages, probably some lentil stew to make the kids happy, and I’m sure some savory breakfast bowls of grits, onions and kale will make an appearance among the s’mores and fireside popcorn snacks. But the star of the cool mornings will be apples. I’ve gathered my ten favorite apple recipes for you all to add to your fall bucket lists. I hope you will make every last one of them – I certainly hope to. This little trip will include the apple crisp, apple caramel nachos, and fried apples. My mother-in-law is the Pie Queen in the family, so I will leave the pie-making to her.

Favorite vegan apple recipes:

  1. Southern Fried Apples! Like any good Southerner, I know these qualified as a vegetable side just like macaroni and hushpuppies. I will probably serve these with some NanaMoo vanilla ice cream and on top of fluffy pancakes.
  2. Apple Hand Pies! Skip the egg wash and sub with Just Egg if you’d prefer this to be a vegan recipe. Peppridge Farm makes a vegan puff pastry that can be found at most grocery stores (but not at Whole Foods).
  3. Apple Crisp! I will make this in a cast iron skillet, and we will definitely eat it for breakfast, not dessert. Switch the butter for your favorite vegan options – I’ll probably use unsalted Earth Balance sticks.
  4. Caramel Apple Nachos! With loose teeth, serving up granny smith apples in nacho style instead of dripped caramel apples is an excellent alternative. I will be making vegan caramel using coconut cream, and letting the kids add from a choice of toppings: toasted coconut, sprinkles, chocolate chips, mini vegan marshmallows, peanut butter sauce and of course, cinnamon.
  5. Kale, Apple and Beat Salad! I’ll be honest, I am probably the only person in the house excited about this. I am very excited!
  6. Apple Cinnamon Energy Falls! If you’ve seen my post about peanut butter energy balls, protein packed snacks are critical to keeping the kids from having miserable afternoon meltdowns.
  7. Apple Butter! I like this recipes because it make enough to use now, and doesn’t require canning. Apple butter on buttered toast, on top of pancakes, ice cream, apple butter everything!
  8. Rustic Apple Cake! Sub for your preferred vegan butter and egg replacer – and voila! I suggest Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer for baking.
  9. Morning Muffins! Okay, these aren’t just for apples, but I am going to make several batches of these for the freezer to make the mornings a little easier.
  10. Apple Chips! I can’t wait to break out my mandolin (is it a weapon or a kitchen gadget? Hard to say.).